Nokia’s head of marketing resigns after 15 years, possibly over the faked Lumia ad

Ilari Nurmi NokiaNokia’s Vice President of Product Marketing, Ilari Nurmi, has announced that he has left the company after 15-years of service. It’s a high-profile departure that comes just before one of the company’s most important product launches ever, and shortly after a marketing blunder that soured the announcement party for its new Windows Phone 8 Lumia handsets.

The news was broken by Reuters, and confirmed by Nurmi’s own Twitter account, where he said “I have left Nokia. I am thankful for almost 15 years there. I wish Nokia all the best and look forward to getting Lumia 920 once available.” A company man ‘till the last, then.

His departure from the company was relayed to Reuters in an email, in which “he did not make clear whether he left of his own accord,” and Nokia refused to comment on the reason Nurmi is no longer with them.

There are three ways of looking at this. The first is that it was his time to go, as before Nurmi worked on product marketing, he was vice president of Nokia’s Eseries line. Those with long memories will remember these were business-focused phones, and included successes such as the E71 and Nokia’s Communicator range. Before this, he was Director of Product Management for S60, Nokia’s user interface for the Symbian operating system.

With Eseries and Symbian both long gone, along with plenty of other alterations behind the scenes, Nokia today is probably very different to the Nokia Nurmi joined back in 1998.

Faked Lumia 920 video

However, if we don our conspiracy hat for a moment, there is a chance Nurmi resigned over the mishandling of the Lumia 920 teaser campaign, which brought suspicion and negative press down on the company at exactly the time it hoped for nothing by positive attention.

Specifically, we’re talking about the now infamous girl-on-a-bicycle footage, which was supposed to demonstrate the image stabilization abilities of Lumia 920’s PureView camera, but actually demonstrated the abilities of a professional camera securely mounted in a van.

ZDNet.com’s Zack Whittaker points the finger of blame at Nurmi, saying he “would have been ultimately responsible for the gaffe.”

Then there is the third possibility, which should be spoken only in hushed tones, which is that Nurmi didn’t relish the idea of trying to pull Nokia back from the brink, hopped into one of the nearest lifeboats, and sailed away. Whatever his reason for leaving is, it’s unlikely the truth will ever come out.

Nurmi has yet to talk about where he’s headed to next, and at the time of writing his Facebook and LinkedIn accounts still say he’s working for Nokia.

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